I'd like to lock Mother Nature in my basement and throw away the key. March came in like a polar bear and went out like a (rabid) mountain lion, with blizzard conditions over the Red River Valley yesterday, but that wasn't the most unusual feature of yesterday's weather map.
In 40 years of tracking the weather I have NEVER seen a tornado warning and a blizzard warning in effect (simultaneously) for the same county. That happened yesterday in Yellow Medicine county; tornadoes moving at 40 mph causing structural damage near Saint Leo - the county under a blizzard warning for high winds and snow expected to move in Monday night. A new level of weather-whiplash. A new level of bizarre.
Whispers of the Polar Vortex return today as cold exhaust shakes the trees outside your window - a coating of slush possible in the metro; a few inches of snow for Brainerd. But we all realize that spring in Minnesota is always two steps forward, one step back.
A clumsy atmospheric waltz.
No more 60s in sight anytime soon, in fact heavy jackets linger into late week with a few days in the 30s and low 40s. It's premature to toss around inches, but there may be enough cold air in place for a slushy snow event by Friday. But even if it does snow a high sun angle guarantees rapid melting, with 40s returning next week, even a shot at 50F.
If anyone asks the average high reaches 65F in the Twin Cities by the end of April. Extended models show a cool bias. We won't be boating anytime soon.
Longer term an El Nino is brewing; warmer Pacific water which often correlates with milder winters here. That's more of a prayer than a forecast by the way. But we go from one extreme to the next.
Maybe we'll catch a break.
* photo of tornado near Minneota Monday afternoon courtesy of Ronni Vlaminck and KARE-11.
* NOAA SPC confiirmed 3 tornadoes as of late last night. Details here.
"Hey Paul, I have a question. Have you ever seen a confirmed tornado (Warning) in the same place where a Blizzard Warning is also in effect? Hard to believe my eyes right now. Then again in Wisconsin yesterday there was elevated fire danger in the same areas where rivers were flooding. What could possibly be ahead??? Cue the locust."
Short answer? No.
Photo credit above: " Credit Joshua Davies Communication Specialist 2nd Class/U.S. Navy Photo.
* photo of funnel cloud over Saint Leo yesterday afternoon courtesy of @bwicky777.
** Twitter cartoon credit here.
Panel's Warning On Climate Risk: Worst Is Yet To Come. Justin Gillis has a good summary of the latest IPCC report in The New York Times; here's an excerpt: "...The scientists emphasized that climate change is not just some problem of the distant future, but is happening now. For instance, in much of the American West, mountain snowpack is declining, threatening water supplies for the region, the scientists reported. And the snow that does fall is melting earlier in the year, which means there is less meltwater to ease the parched summers. In Alaska, the collapse of sea ice is allowing huge waves to strike the coast, causing erosion so rapid that it is already forcing entire communities to relocate. “Now we are at the point where there is so much information, so much evidence, that we can no longer plead ignorance,” said Michel Jarraud, secretary general of the World Meteorological Organization..."
MIT Scientist Responds On Disaster Costs And Climate Change. FiveThirtyEight has an article from hurricane expert Kerry Emanuel from MIT; here's an excerpt: "...The increasing normalized trends in the U.S. were evident in convective storms, winter storms, flooding events and high temperature-related losses, and were almost statistically significant for hurricanes at the conventional 95 percent confidence level.3 In view of data like this, it’s very hard to accept Pielke’s confident assertion that “[n]o matter what President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron say, recent costly disasters are not part of a trend driven by climate change...”
Wake Up To The Reality Of Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at CNN that caught my eye, from former (Republican) Governor of New Mexico and U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson: "...We are now witnessing how it is changing our world: The past winter was the eighth-warmest on record. For 348 consecutive months -- 29 years -- global temperatures have been above average. The latest IPCC report finds that impacts from climate change are "widespread and consequential" and they are being felt on every continent and in our oceans. The world last year experienced 41 weather-related disasters that caused damages totaling at least $1 billion. Over the past decade, the western United States experienced seven times more large-scale wildfires than it did in the 1970s. Climate change has made it much more likely that we will suffer severe droughts like the one that recently swept across Texas and my home state of New Mexico..."
North America: Shifting Water. New Scientist examines how climate change will impact specific regions around the world. Here's an excerpt focused on North America: "...Rain and storms will move northwards, flooding areas north of New York and leaving southern areas short of water. Mexicans will have to do everything they can to preserve water and escape the heat. Adapting to water deficits is not too hard: the key is increased efficiency. But extra flooding is more problematic, with total costs expected to increase tenfold this century. The US has the capacity to adapt, but is struggling with misinformation and a lack of political will..." (Photo: ThinkStock).
* The Telegraph has a continent by continent breakdown of the risks and options related to a warming atmosphere and oceans.
Graphic credit: WMO (World Meteorological Organization) and The Guardian.
* A link to the latest IPCC WG2 Climate Summary is here.